Should plastic drinking straws be banned? We’re not going to lie to you, this has been a contentious and popular topic of late. For decades, Americans have become quite accustomed to plastic straws at fast food restaurants, gas stations, and other convenience stores. It’s so ingrained in our culture, taking it away might sound awful if not tyrannical. At the same time, few stop to think how many plastic straws are used a day and what affect it has on the environment as a whole. Many American cities, however, have stepped up to combat what they see as a big problem. Still, is that a good idea? We’re here to hash that all out.
Once again, List25 is here to answer your questions and debate the issue in another series we call Deathmatch. List25 editors, Jason and Crystal, are back for another round, with Jason arguing that plastic straws should be banned and Crystal arguing against it.
Yes: They cause cavities.
If you’re using a straw, chances are you’re drinking sugary pop. When you drink pop with a straw, it sends a concentrated amount of sugary liquid at your teeth, allowing cavities to form more easily. So, save yourself the health problems and the health bills and skip the straws. – JI
No: Bans are a slippery political slope.
While government involvement gets things done, it often gets things done in a way that isn’t well planned out or organized, and there are often a lot of people and problems that fall through the cracks. Also, the phrase, “Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile,” is usually pretty applicable to any form of government control. –CC
Yes: They contain Polypropylene.
Straws are made with polypropylene. The FDA considers this type of plastic safe. However, one peer reviewed study showed the chemicals could still leech into the environment. Those chemicals then get into ecosystems and our food. Bottom line, if you’re not a fan of using plastic to contain your food or liquids, then stop using straws. – JI
No: It starts with being responsible.
As mentioned before, plastic drinking straws started out as a medical aid. Now that they are for everybody and anybody, it’s no wonder that they contribute to our environmental problems. Instead of banning them, it’s much better to promote wise and responsible choices. If you really don’t need a straw, don’t use one. If you want to be really pro-active, tell your server you don’t want one before they bring it to your table. This allows access and availability to those who need them without red tape. –CC
Yes: Straws are made to pollute.
According to the National Park Service, among other organizations, Americans use 500 million straws a day. The New York Times fact checked this and came in at a lower statistic of 173 million a day or 63 billion a year. Whatever numbers you want to use, Americans use a preposterous amount of plastic straws only to end up in landfills, city streets, and oceans. One even ended up in a sea turtle’s nose! Again, once the plastic is in the environment, the chemicals leech into our food. – JI